Just before I moved to Montreal I spent a couple months picking apples in Mont Saint-Hilaire, an off-island suburb. I don’t recommend apple picking - the fruit is heavy and the money is bad. After the ease of the cherry season in the Okanagon the work was altogether demoralizing. On a rainy day in September when work was called off, a few of us decided to drive into Montreal to see what was going on with Journées de la culture. Just outside of Place des arts there were many tents set up with small presentations organized by the various art companies, OSM, Les grands ballets, Opéra de Montréal, etc. Heading inside the Esplanade I came across the programs box, where they set out the pamphlets for the season’s offerings. Soon after I finally moved east, I would visit this box every spring to collect the pamphlets for the next season, wonder at the beautiful printing and binding of the Grands ballets brochure, look over the strange and glossy pictures of Danse Danse, decide which operas I would love to see. Despite the many deals for patrons under 30, all of the performances were somewhat outside my budget for the first couple of years. Finally a friend’s mother brought us to a production of Handel’s Messiah and for the first time I was able to experience the wonder of Maison Symphonique, the hall that I had heard so much about. It remains my favourite venue; it’s beauty and acoustics are unparalleled, a masterpiece of form and function.
While I was raised on artists like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa and Genesis, classical music was also a staple in our household. We weren’t a particularly sophisticated family and I don’t think I ever took in many performances of the Calgary Philharmonic (I did sleep with one of the viola players once, but that’s another story). Still, I was brought up with a layman’s appreciation of music and literature. I was spellbound the first time my father played Holst’s The Planets - I can still remember the way “Mars, the Bringer of War” sent shivers down my spine, and it was Vivaldi’s Four Seasons that made me fall hopelessly in love with the violin. While watching Moonstruck with my mother I wondered at the music from La Bohème and was directed to a best of Puccini CD we happened to own. It was this year that I was able to attend the Opera de Montreal production with Adelaide Finch, completing my lifelong dream of seeing it in person.
This year is looking like it’s going to be AMAZING and I was struck with an idea - As much as I enjoy seeing shows on my own, it would be wonderful to have some company. So, would you like to join me? For the specific shows that I have listed below, I will waive my social donation. There’s a slight catch, of course, the seats to the shows must be within the specific areas of the auditoriums that I have outlined. More social time maybe be added before or after the performances but my rates will apply to all time not spent taking in the performance. So let's get classy and take in some high art!
Images from dansedanse.ca , grandsballets.com , and operademontreal.com respectively.
Theatres and preferred seating